web analytics
April 2, 2015 / 13 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


What is the Link between 17th of Tammuz, July 4th and Lincoln?

The USA was founded on the Fast Day of the 17th of Tammuz, July 4, 1776. On the same coincidental days in 1863, a rabbi’s sermon included a phrase that Lincoln later made famous.
Abraham Lincoln's use of the term'"four score and seven years ago' may have been borrowed from a rabbi's Fourth of July sermon

Abraham Lincoln's use of the term'"four score and seven years ago' may have been borrowed from a rabbi's Fourth of July sermon

A rabbi delivering a Shabbat sermon on the coincidental dates of the 17th of Tammuz and the Fourth of July in 1863 used the phrase “four score and seven years ago” before Abraham Lincoln made it famous, according to an historian.

British Prof. Marc Saperstein, who is a visiting professor of Judaic Studies at Yale, wrote in the Huffington Post  Wednesday that Rabbi Sabato Morais delivered his message in Philadelphia after the Battle of Gettysburg was fought but before its outcome was known.

“His sermon contains a phrase that might well have influenced the most celebrated speech in American history,” according to Prof. Saperstein.

The Fourth of July usually falls during the three-week period when Jews mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples. On an average of about once every 10 years or so, Independence Day falls on the first day of the three weeks, the Fast Day of the 17th day of Tammuz and which also was on the Sabbath in 1863.

Without knowing whether the Confederate army had won in Gettysburg , a victory that would have allowed it to threaten Philadelphia, Rabbi Morais said in his sermon that he was asked to refer to Independence Day.

However, since it was the 17th day of Tammuz, even though the fast is postponed because of the Sabbath, Rabbi Morais explained he could not deliver an encouraging address that was recommended by the Union League. It suggested that clergy quote the uplifting verse form Leviticus that is inscribe on the Liberty Bell: “”Proclaim liberty throughout the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

Instead, the rabbi chose the lament from King Hezekiah in Isaiah, “This is a day of trouble, of rebuke, and derision,” which he also meant as a reference to the Battle of Gettysburg before knowing the Union forces had won.

Rabbi Morais made sure to refer to Independence Day, 87 years after the United States was founded. “’I am not indifferent, my dear friends, to the event, which four score and seven years ago, brought to this new world light and joy,” he said in his sermon.

The King James translation of Psalms 90:10 translates a Hebrew in the psalm as “threescore and ten.”

Prof. Saperstein  explained that when Abraham Lincoln spoke to a small group of people three days later, he said that it was “eighty odd years” since the founding of the United States.

The professor wrote,  “Needless to say, some three months later, for the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery, Abraham Lincoln elevated the level of his discourse from ‘eighty odd years’ to “four score and seven years, our fathers brought forth to this continent,” possibly borrowing from the published text by the Philadelphia Sephardic preacher who, without knowing it, may have made a lasting contribution to American rhetorical history.”

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “What is the Link between 17th of Tammuz, July 4th and Lincoln?”

  1. The year before, upon the death of President Lincoln's 12 year old son Willie, Rabbi Sabato Morais delivered a touching sermon of comfort, for which Lincoln thanked Congregation Mikveh Israel in a letter dated May 13, 1862.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Faience amulets depicting images of Egyptian gods.
Egyptian Culture Rife in Israel ‘For Years’ After Exodus
Latest News Stories
Faience amulets depicting images of Egyptian gods.

Israeli archaeologists prove Egyptian culture was rife in Israel “for years” after the Exodus.

Two cops were hurt Wednesday and a female bomber was killed in a shootout outside Istanbul’s police headquarters.

Destruction in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, summer 2014.

A Gazan who sold a Bansky painted on his bombed-out doorway to a local artist for NIS 700 (about $175) says he was tricked.

Sixty-five years after a group of Arab nations signed a mutual defense treaty whose primary target was the newly-reestablished state of Israel, Arab leaders agreed Sunday to activate it by setting up a joint military force. The move comes amid spreading Islamic extremism and Iranian muscle-flexing in the region. The in-principle decision was made at […]

A table was set up in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square for all the Israelis who have gone missing.

They chatted a bit, Boehner congratulated Netanyahu on his election victory, and then the two went for lunch.

As Iranian general calls for Israel’s destruction, P5+1 talks on concessions to Iran continue.

Belgian insurance companies refuse to insure Jewish kindergartens due to the risk of anti-Semitic attacks.

France has left the US-led nuclear talks with Iran in Lausanne, saying it will return when it is ‘useful.’

Obama finally stops punishing Egypt for overthrowing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi

The IDF will have hard choices to make in the next war with Hezbollah.

Chaim Topol, has been awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement.

The Knesset opening session was buzzing with new faces, as 39 new Members of Knesset joined their veteran colleagues in the swearing in ceremony.

The Temple Institute renacted the entire Pesach sacrifice ceremony.

“On days like today we want these children to feel the joy that any normal child experiences on their bar mitzvah.”

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
More than 40 were killed in the bombing of a Yemeni refugee camp by the Saudi-led strike force.

More than 40 refugees were killed in a Saudi-led air strike while PA office accuses Israel crime by building homes.

Missionaries in the Tel Aviv area.

The military implicitly admits to having improperly allowed a missionary group to indoctrinate soldiers.

Talks are likely to extend beyond Obama’s self-imposed deadline that he had said he won’t change.

The Iranian regime is hard up for propaganda, but maybe it is prophesying the future.

The Arabs rolled burning tires and three rocks at soldiers at the central Gaza security fence.

The clowns are back in town while ringmaster Netanyahu tries to tame the beasts.

A Reuters poll shows that America is increasingly polarized, especially about President Obama.

Release of a gag order reveals that the Israeli citizen and a friend traveled to Syria last year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/what-is-the-link-between-17th-of-tammuz-july-4th-and-lincoln/2013/07/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: